Migrant workers murdered
Suspected separatist rebels kidnapped five migrant workers from a bakery in the remote northeast, drove them to a secluded spot and killed them, police said yesterday. The bodies of the five men, who worked at a bakery in the Bishenpur region of the volatile state of Manipur, were discovered riddled with bullets from automatic weapons, leading police to believe that a rebel group was behind the killings, Bishenpur police chief Jayanta Singh said. Some 17 militant groups have been fighting for decades for independent homelands in Manipur and the neighboring state of Nagaland.
■ South Korea
New prime minister named
President Roh Moo-hyun named a former finance minister as his new prime minister on Thursday and replaced his chief of staff, the presidential office said. Han Duck-soo, a career official who served as Roh's finance minister from 2005 to last year, was nominated to succeed Han Myung-sook, who stepped down earlier this week to focus on her career as a lawmaker amid media reports she may run for president. An election is set for December. Roh also replaced his chief of staff, appointing a longtime confidant and former civil affairs aide, Moon Jae-in, to the post. The new prime minister, 56, who has a doctorate in economics from Harvard University, has long served as an economic expert in the government.
Islamic clerics gagged
Five of most powerful Islamic clerics in the country have reportedly been banned from speaking to the media in an attempt to stop local imams inflaming anti-Muslim sentiments with controversial comments. The nation's Muslims say they feel under pressure after a number of radical clerics inflamed tensions earlier this year by airing extremist views about women, jihad and Jews. The Lebanese Muslim Association has gagged the imams from Lakemba Mosque in Sydney to stop them delivering "anti-Australian" messages, the Australian newspaper reported yesterday.
Calf caught eating chickens
When his chickens started disappearing a few weeks ago, a farmer in eastern India figured dogs or jackals were to blame -- until he discovered his calf making a meal of his poultry. Moloy and his one-year-old calf have since become local celebrities, with the carnivorous cow appearing on television in India's West Bengal State and hundreds of people flocking to see them in Chandipur, a village 230km southwest of Calcutta. "To catch the culprit, Moloy got up very early ... and to his disbelief found that it was his calf which came out from the cow shed and was eating the chickens alive," Debjyoti Chatterjee, a local resident said on Thursday.
Bus gropers to be punished
People caught groping fellow passengers on Santiago's packed buses and trains will be seriously punished, President Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday. Bachelet said she would announce measures within 48 hours to deal with problems on the transit system, which is so strained that passengers complain of hours-long delays. Despite a system overhaul a month ago, trains still broke down and buses couldn't accommodate the long lines of passengers.
■ United Kingdom
Historic sites protected
Britain unveiled proposals on Thursday to protect ancient buildings in a move it hopes will be enough to prevent the historic Tower of London from being put on a blacklist of endangered world heritage sites. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell published plans to throw buffer zones around antiquities such as Durham Cathedral and Stonehenge to prevent ugly developments being built nearby. Britain is responsible for 27 of UNESCO's world heritage sites, but these are not formally covered by the country's planning laws. Last year inspectors from UNESCO expressed concerns about a series of planned skyscrapers looming over the Tower of London and threatened to put the historic fortress on its "in danger" list.